Poagao's Journal

Absolutely Not Your Monkey

Feb 02 2010

The convenience of film

Ever since I sold my LX3 a while back, my Leica M6 has more or less taken its place as my “middle camera”. It’s kind of strange to be back with film, but I’ve noticed something unusual in my experiences using it: I’m getting my film shots up much quicker than my digital ones.

Of course, most of the reason for this is my troubles with Lightroom, which apparently doesn’t play nice with Snow Leopard, necessitating a reinstall of an earlier OS on my iMac to smooth things over, at least until Lightroom 3 comes out of beta. But another reason is my shooting style: when I’m using the M6, which fits in my bag or coat pocket just fine. But I tend to think about shooting differently when I use it; I take more care with my shots and seldom take multiples. People seem to not take as much offense at the sight of the M6 as they do when I’m aiming the Invincible Rabbit at them. However, I also take more substandard shots towards the end of a roll, alas, so eager am I to send it off for processing.

That said, getting the pictures back on a CD the next day is a lot more fun; there’s more anticipation, and I find I have more keepers than I do with digital, and they need hardly any processing at all. Up they go, while my old shots from last summer linger on my hard drives. The psychological block to start in on processing such a mountain of photos makes me hesitate, whereas with a disc of 38 shots, it’s an easy task. To coin a phrase, film just works.

I should note that, if I want to make prints, I’d need to take the original negatives in, negatives that do not contain any adjustments I’d made in post. In this respect digital is more convenient. I haven’t made prints in a while. I am talking with a large photo magazine/publisher about a photo book, however. Seems about time.

I’ve been toying with the idea of getting a GF1, but the pile of unprocessed photos awaiting me makes me feel guilty about getting another camera, and there are always the rumors of something better just around the corner, of course. This will always be the case; there’s always something better just around the corner, somthing that will make your current camera suddenly stop working and retreat back into the drybox, weeping in frustration. But as PMA is coming up, and I’m going to be taking the rabbit with me for the Chinese New Year break, there’s not much of a reason to get another compact just yet. I also have to admit that I’m hooked on the smooth action of the M6 as well as the way it fits in my hands. If Leica made an accessible digital version of this camera, I’d be quite interested, but that doesn’t look like it’s going to happen any time soon.

Which is fine, actually. I’d thought, along with everyone else, that there would be no looking back after the advent of digital, but it turns out most of the problems we thought we were solving werent’ really that big a deal. Funny how that works.

posted by Poagao at 5:05 pm  


  1. Interesting. I also tend to think that people that take less offense at an old silver camera pointed at them. Subconsciously the see anachronisms, I guess, and feel less threatened.

    Personally I kept using Leicas until the newspaper got rid of the film development machines. I hated digital at first, but now I can’t bear the sight of old negatives. I can review old digital files easily, but it’s a pain to sift through old negs.

    Comment by persimmonous — February 3, 2010 @ 4:41 pm

  2. It’s true that negatives and slides are a pain to work with. I was just thinking that working with sets of 38 pictures at a time is psychologically easier to think of than hundreds and hundreds of shots on a memory card.

    Do you think that you get a less offense with the Leica or with the GF1?

    Comment by Poagao — February 3, 2010 @ 4:49 pm

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